Sectarian violence in the summer of 1935

The following article looks at sectarian violence in Belfast around the Twelfth in 1935 and the (apparently) coordinated raid by De Valera’s own special police on a Belfast IRA training camp in County Louth. It includes a brief chronology of sectarian violence in the summer of 1935 in the lead up to the Twelfth thatContinue reading “Sectarian violence in the summer of 1935”

Conversant with Chairman Mao? The speech that split the IRA, July 1969.

Almost all those involved in the IRA in 1969 cite a speech given by Jimmy Steele in Ballyglass cemetery in July that year as a pivotal moment en route to the splits that occurred, firstly between Belfast and Dublin that September and, then, across the IRA as a whole. The content of the speech, delivered at the re-burial of two IRA volunteersContinue reading “Conversant with Chairman Mao? The speech that split the IRA, July 1969.”

Prayers in the rain, Milltown 1935

In 1935 the Easter Rising commemoration at Milltown cemetery was banned by the northern government as had happened in previous years. Some 200 RUC men were drafted in to seal off the cemetery and prevent any ceremony being held. In defiance of both the northern government, and the elements (it poured rain), some 2,000 republicans gatheredContinue reading “Prayers in the rain, Milltown 1935”

The bombing of the republican plot in Milltown

This is the story of the bombing and destruction of the original republican plot in Milltown cemetery in Belfast. When most people think of the republican plot in Milltown, they usually think of it as the County Antrim memorial erected on the Tom Williams plot in the mid-1960s. The older republican monument, though, is theContinue reading “The bombing of the republican plot in Milltown”

Mass escape from Derry Jail, 2oth March 1943

On the 20th March 1943 the IRA staged a mass escape through a tunnel from Derry Jail. The escape was one of a series of high profile actions by the IRA in the north in the first half of 1943. The escape itself is well covered by an episode of the TG4 series, Ealú. This articleContinue reading “Mass escape from Derry Jail, 2oth March 1943”

IRA in Ardoyne, Carrickhill and New Lodge

  Further to the previous post on names of IRA volunteers in Belfast, here are the listed names for companies in North Belfast, namely C Company of 1st Battalion in Carrickhill, A Company in 2nd Battalion (Ardoyne and the Bone) and D Company in 2nd Battalion (North Queen Street and New Lodge). The same issue applyContinue reading “IRA in Ardoyne, Carrickhill and New Lodge”

Belfast Brigade IRA members, 1921-22.

Here are some lists of the members of individual companies of the IRA in Belfast on two specific dates in 1921 and 1922 (transcribed from documents at the Military Archives). There some discussion of the lists at the end of this post. The lists were compiled in the mid-1930s and are based on the memory ofContinue reading “Belfast Brigade IRA members, 1921-22.”

List of O/Cs of Belfast IRA, 1924-69.

The following is a draft list of the officers commanding the IRA’s Belfast battalion (the name normally given to its structures in the city) from 1924 to 1969. The list is based on a variety of sources. There are gaps and may well be omissions since those listed are those named in accounts of differentContinue reading “List of O/Cs of Belfast IRA, 1924-69.”

The Daring Escape from the Crumlin Road Jail

At 8.30 am on Friday 15th January, 1943, Jimmy Steele, Paddy Donnelly, Ned Maguire and Hugh McAteer escaped from A wing in Crumlin Road. In a well planned escape they broke through the roof, descended a rope to the yard and then scaled the perimeter wall in the morning before it got light. Only forContinue reading “The Daring Escape from the Crumlin Road Jail”

Sporadic outbursts of bomb-throwing: Laochra Uladh’s Belfast campaign, 1950-55.

Laochra Uladh was a republican group led by Brendan O’Boyle which was active up to 1955. When he started Laochra Uladh, republicanism in Belfast (and Ireland in general) was fragmented. Commemorations, operations, arrests and weapons finds often involved people and organisations outside official IRA structures. But just as O’Boyle was acquiring money and arms, so too was theContinue reading “Sporadic outbursts of bomb-throwing: Laochra Uladh’s Belfast campaign, 1950-55.”